Urtica dioica pollen allergy: Clinical, biological, and allergomics analysis.
- Molecular and Translational Allergology
BACKGROUND: The most emblematic members of Urticaceae at allergic risk level are wall pellitories (Parietaria), whereas nettle (Urtica) pollen is considered as poorly allergenic. No allergen from nettle pollen has yet been characterized, whereas 4 are listed for Parietaria pollen by the International Union of Immunological Societies. Clinical and biological profiles of 2 adult men who developed symptoms against nettle pollen and/or leaves were studied. OBJECTIVE: To characterize the allergic reaction and identify the potential nettle pollen sensitizing allergens. METHODS: IgE-mediated reaction to nettle pollen extract was evaluated by skin prick test, immunoassay, nasal provocation, and basophil activation test. To characterize specific nettle pollen allergens, an allergomic (IgE immunoproteomic) analysis was performed combining 1- and 2-dimensional electrophoresis, IgE immunoblots of nettle pollen extract, identification of allergens by mass spectrometry, and database queries. RESULTS: The results of biological and immunochemical analyses revealed that the allergic rhinitis was due to Urtica dioica pollen in both patients. The allergomic analysis of nettle pollen extract allowed the characterization of 4 basic protein allergens: a thaumatin-like protein (osmotin) with a relative molecular mass of 27 to 29 kDa, a pectinesterase (relative molecular mass, 40 kDa), and 2 other basic proteins with relative molecular masses of 14 to 16 kDa and 43 kDa. There is no or only very weak allergen associations between pellitory and nettle pollen. CONCLUSION: Exposure to nettle pollen can be responsible of allergic symptoms, and several allergens were characterized. Unravelling the allergens of this underestimated allergy might help to improve diagnosis and care for patients, to predict cross-reactivities and design adapted specific immunotherapy.